HARO Case Study
Growing a women's interest blog to 7,436,962 organic visitors using HARO links.
Key points:
  • 1
    We built 618 links during 57 months. The client's website grew by +4.27M monthly visitors.
  • 2
    We found a strong correlation of 0.854 between built HARO links and organic traffic growth.
  • 3
    Among other takeaways, we learned that effective targeting, A/B tests, and building relationships deliver strong results.
1. Who we are?
HighCalibre.Link is a high-end boutique link-building agency established in 2018. Our remote international team worked with 100+ long-term clients and built over 4,000 links from top media. Our client relationships and processes are built on the philosophy of quality over quantity.
2. Link-building and organic growth in 2023
  • 94% of SEO experts think that link-building drives organic traffic.
  • 93.8% of experts agree that link quality is more important than quantity.
  • The rise of generative AI is likely to cause inflation of content as a ranking factor. And link-building is likely to thrive.

3. Objectives of the case study
  • To demonstrate our exact processes on an exact example.
  • To demonstrate the exact results of our client
  • To analyze the impact of HARO links on our client's rankings.
Client background and goals
1. Introduction to the client and their business
Our client is a women's interest blog monetized using affiliate mechanics and display advertising.
2. Client's initial website performance

  • Organic traffic - 3,170,016
  • Organic keywords - 323,617

Our client operates a well-established women's interest blog, primarily monetized through affiliate marketing and display advertising. Boasting an impressive 3,283,486 monthly visitors garnered from organic traffic and ranking for 323,617 organic keywords, the website had already achieved considerable success.

However, the client's ambition was to become the undisputed leader in their niche, necessitating further strategic efforts to maximize their online presence and growth potential.
3. Client's goals for organic traffic growth

The client's primary objective centered around expanding their organic traffic. With top 10, top 20, and top 30 rankings for keywords boasting search volumes between 50,000 and 500,000 monthly searches, the client's website was already ranking for an impressive 323,617 organic keywords.

To achieve its desired traffic growth, the website needed to climb higher in rankings for high-volume keywords and begin ranking for additional clusters of keywords.

The client devised a two-pronged strategy to accomplish this:

  1. Link-building strategy: A comprehensive approach combining HARO links, guest posts, editorial links, digital PR campaigns, and homepage links to diversify and strengthen their backlink profile.
  2. Content strategy: The creation of 200 additional in-depth articles on evergreen topics to bolster the website's authority and relevance.
This case study will primarily focus on the HARO activities executed by our team and examine the correlation between the HARO links built and the client's subsequent improvements in keyword rankings.

4. Challenges Faced by the Client

The client faced three primary challenges in their pursuit of organic traffic growth:

1. Transitioning from PBN links: Previously, the client relied on PBN links as their main backlink strategy. However, to ensure long-term success and mitigate potential risks, they sought to adopt a safer, white-hat backlink approach. This necessitated the organic replacement of over 100 PBN backlinks with high-quality, white-hat links.

2. Acquiring backlinks in a competitive niche: Given the inherent difficulty in securing backlinks within the client's niche, obtaining a steady stream of high-quality links proved to be a significant challenge. The client aimed to achieve a monthly target of at least 10 new backlinks to support their growth goals.

3. Coordinating link-building activities across multiple channels: To effectively diversify their backlink profile, the client needed to integrate a variety of backlink types, including guest posts, editorial links, digital PR campaigns, and homepage links. This coordination posed a challenge, as the client required us to deliver reports in specific formats that their software could fetch. This allowed them to monitor link velocity, diversity, quality, target pages, and anchor texts seamlessly, ensuring a cohesive link-building strategy.
Did You Know?

HighCalibre.Link service is designed to provide you with a seamless reporting experience by delivering reports via Google Sheets. These reports are easily fetched and integrated into popular dashboard software, such as Looker Studio or Power BI.

Additionally, we understand that each business has unique requirements when it comes to link metrics. That's why we're flexible in providing the specific metrics that are crucial to your business. If you prefer MOZ DA over Ahrefs DR, for instance, simply let us know, and we'll tailor the reports to align with your business goals.
HARO link building strategy

1. Overview of the HARO process

You can quickly understand our HARO process using this infographic.

During our initial call with the client, we discussed his goals and challenges.

After this, we asked for three days to analyze their website and come up with the optimal angles that would help us build at least 10 HARO links per month.

Our team has the software and historical data about all journalist requests from 10+ sources. It helps us to generate strong insights for any client in any niche.

Here is what our analysis looked like:
During our second call, we shared our findings with the client and offered to work with two clusters of HARO requests.

The client had one expert on their team who is a perfect fit for cluster 2. However, they did not have anyone who would be an expert for cluster 1. Using our network of connections we found a person who was a great fit for this angle as well.

This allowed us to fully cover the most important clusters of journalist requests.

Did You Know?

We at HighCalibre.Link leverage our experience to build a perfect positioning for your brand. Furthermore, we will ghostwrite all the pitches on your behalf unless you want to participate in this process.

Our processes are built to require minimal maintenance from your end. This will help you focus on control and strategy to achieve your business goals.
2. Targeting relevant and high-authority publications

Our approach to targeting publications for the client's HARO link-building was both meticulous and strategic. We began by carefully evaluating every query for relevance to the client's niche.

Following this initial assessment, we then vetted each potential publication using our proprietary internal processes, which, due to their competitive advantage, could not be disclosed publicly. This strategic approach enabled us to secure citations from the most authoritative media outlets with the highest probability of success, ensuring maximum impact for our client's backlink profile.
3. Crafting Compelling Pitches and Responses

To maximize our client's chances of securing valuable HARO placements, we dedicated substantial effort to crafting compelling pitches and responses. Our team thoroughly researched each relevant query, enabling us to develop well-informed and engaging responses that showcased the client's expertise and aligned with the journalist's needs.

Tailoring our pitches to suit each specific opportunity proved to be an effective way to capture the attention of journalists and editors, ultimately resulting in a higher success rate for our client's HARO link-building campaign.

We ran a total of 27 A/B tests for cluster 1 and cluster 2. We experimented with the email subjects, timings, email vs. Twitter, email vs. Instagram, etc.

Some tests were the same and others were cluster-specific:
As a result, we came up with 3 improvements that work in the Client's niche. These improvements helped us win at least 20 more links for our Client.
4. Establishing relationships with journalists and editors

In link-building, relationships are paramount. However, building these relationships can be resource-consuming. To maximize our efforts, we scored each journalist based on a range of criteria, including the frequency of submitted requests, the resulting articles with citations, and the inclusion of links alongside those citations.
We selected the top 10% of journalists with the highest scores for relationship building.

To establish and nurture these relationships, we employed several tactics:

1. Personalized outreach: We crafted tailored and thoughtful messages for each high-scoring journalist, highlighting our appreciation for their work and demonstrating our expertise in areas relevant to their interests. This approach helped establish rapport and showcase our value as a reliable source.

2. Sharing valuable content: Proactively sharing relevant and useful content with the journalists allowed us to position our Client as an expert in their niche. This not only helped build trust but also encouraged journalists to consider our client for future citation opportunities.

3. Engaging on social media: By actively engaging with journalists on social media platforms, we further strengthened our relationships with them. This involved sharing their articles, commenting on their posts, and offering insights on topics within our client's expertise.

As a result of these efforts, at the time of writing this case study, we had established connections with 19 journalists who now send us requests directly, bypassing public platforms like HARO. This has already helped us secure more than 40 additional high-quality links for our client.

5. Monitoring and Reporting on Campaign Progress

Given our client's ambitious, large-scale goals, they sought a low-maintenance partnership that did not require micro-management. To accommodate this preference, we created a report compatible with the client's reporting system. This enabled the client to effortlessly track the performance of our HARO link-building efforts within their own Power BI dashboard, allowing them to assess the strategy's overall impact.

Additionally, we scheduled bi-monthly calls to discuss the campaign's progress, efficiency, and results. During these calls, we shared our hypotheses, and A/B test outcomes, and explored potential avenues for further improvement. This collaborative approach ensured that our Client remained informed and engaged throughout the campaign, while still maintaining their desired level of autonomy.
Implementation and results
1. Timeframe of the Campaign
  • Launched in: July 2018
  • Type of campaign: Ongoing
  • Duration: 57 month
This ongoing campaign was initially launched in 2018 and has continued to progress effectively up until the present day. The campaign's longevity demonstrates our enduring commitment to supporting the client's objectives and consistently delivering high-quality HARO link-building results.
2. Acquired Links Data
  • Links acquired: 618
  • Syndicated links acquired: 400+
  • Total links acquired: 1000+
  • Average website traffic: 5,900,000 visitors per month
  • Percent of dofollow links: 49.8
Check the charts below to learn more:
Throughout the 57-month duration of this ongoing campaign, we successfully acquired a total of 618 high-quality backlinks for the client. On average, this equates to approximately 10.8 backlinks per month, demonstrating a consistent and sustained effort in enhancing our client's backlink profile.

A client received more than one thousand strong backlinks in total. And more than 400 links were built free of a charge.

3. Analysis of the most successful HARO placements

While it is impossible to list all the successful placements in a single article, we have two very strong examples.

1. Chain reaction that resulted in 107 backlinks
How we did it:

Our team's proactive monitoring of recent citations led us to discover an unlinked mention of our client's website. This discovery set off a remarkable chain reaction that ultimately secured 107 high-quality backlinks for our client.

Initially, we reached out to the journalist responsible for the unlinked mention via email and Twitter but received no response. Undeterred, we found the journalist on Instagram and noticed her affinity for black cats. Leveraging this personal connection, our colleague—who also has a black Maine Coon—engaged the journalist by sharing a photo of her own fluffy feline. This approach not only captured the journalist's attention but also provided an opportunity to request the inclusion of a link.

The result was a highly successful case study: the original post with the link was syndicated across a vast network of authoritative and relevant media outlets, which in turn led to further reposts. In total, we earned 106 additional links.
2. Building the dream link for our Client
Our team achieved a remarkable feat by securing a highly coveted dofollow backlink on one of the world's most popular websites. By presenting an unpopular opinion on a sensitive topic, our expert managed to attract attention and create a buzz, ultimately earning a premium placement for our client.

This exceptional backlink proved to be a dream come true for our client. The article in question attracted a staggering 291 referring domains, boasts a URL Rating (UR) of 32, and generates an impressive 8,900 organic visitors per month. The combination of the website's strong domain authority, numerous high-quality backlinks, and substantial organic traffic make this placement a goldmine for our Client, solidifying their online presence and credibility.
4. Comparison with other link-building strategies
We understand that HARO links were only a component of our Client's strategy. Our Client was actively using these link-building tactics:

HARO links, guest posts, editorial links, digital PR campaigns, and homepage links

  • Guest posts: Creating content for another website and including a backlink to your own site within it.

  • Editorial links: Backlinks gained through earning natural mentions or coverage from media outlets, bloggers, or other websites.

  • Homepage links: Backlinks placed on the homepage of a website, tend to carry a higher degree of authority.

  • Hero campaigns: A type of content marketing campaign that involves creating a high-quality, shareable asset such as a video, infographic, or an ultimate guide to earn backlinks.
  • Reactive PR and Newsjacking: Creating content that responds to or builds on trending news topics or events in order to earn backlinks from media outlets or other websites.

  • HARO links: Backlinks earned by responding to journalist queries with HighCalibre.Link
5. Impact of HARO link building on organic traffic growth

Let's compare the cumulative number of HARO links built with the monthly traffic of our client's website.
Interesting observation:

In the terminology of technical analysis, the HARO links act as a "support line for organic traffic.

HARO links seem to prevent organic traffic from dropping and set the direction for its growth.


The correlation between organic traffic and HARO links is 0.854. It shows that the growth of organic traffic and the number of HARO backlinks are strongly correlated.
Impact on client's business
1. Organic traffic growth

Client's traffic grew from three million to almost seven and a half million organic visitors per month:
2. Organic keywords growth:
Our client had 300k organic keywords and now he enjoys almost one million organic keywords:
3. New horizons
With the successful growth of our client's organic traffic to an impressive seven and a half million visitors per month, a wealth of new opportunities and horizons have emerged, amplifying their business potential:

  1. Premium Ad Networks: The client now has access to exclusive, high-quality ad networks that cater to high-traffic websites, enhancing their monetization capabilities.

  2. Better Terms: The client enjoys more favorable terms with existing partners, allowing for improved revenue generation and overall business growth.

  3. Higher Priority Support: As a high-traffic website, the client receives priority support from their partners, ensuring prompt and efficient resolutions to any issues they may encounter.

  4. Exclusive Offers with Higher CPM: The client now has access to exclusive, high-paying offers with greater Cost Per Mille (CPM), further boosting their ad revenue.

  5. Natural Backlinks: The increased visibility and authority of the client's website have led to a surge in natural backlinks, further strengthening their online presence and credibility.

  6. Sponsored Content Opportunities: With the expanded reach and higher traffic, the client has experienced a rise in inquiries for paid reviews and sponsored posts, opening up additional revenue streams.

  7. Influencer Collaborations: The impressive growth of the client's organic traffic has also attracted the attention of influencers within their niche, paving the way for potential collaborations and co-marketing opportunities.

These new horizons illustrate the powerful impact of our HARO link-building efforts on our client's business. With access to these enhanced opportunities, the client is well-positioned to further amplify their success and dominate their niche.

4. Client testimonial
Our collaboration with HighCalibre.Link has truly been a game-changer for our business. Their strategic approach to HARO link-building has significantly increased our organic traffic and opened up numerous new opportunities for growth.
  1. HARO links drive organic traffic growth: This case study demonstrates a strong correlation of 0.854 between the cumulative number of HARO links and the growth of organic traffic to 7,436,962 visitors, underscoring the long-term effectiveness of HARO link-building strategies.

  2. Effective targeting is crucial: Maximizing exposure and results requires comprehensive coverage of all available subtopics within your niche, ensuring that your link-building efforts reach a broader audience.

  3. A/B testing yields long-term benefits: By conducting A/B tests, we identified three effective improvements tailored to our client's niche, securing at least 20 additional high-quality links.

  4. Building relationships with journalists delivers lasting results: Our persistent relationship-building efforts with 19 journalists resulted in over 40 extra high-quality links for our client, bypassing the need for public platforms like HARO.

  5. Creativity pays off in link-building: Our team's tenacity in engaging a journalist led to the acquisition of 107 high-quality backlinks, showcasing the importance of innovative approaches in securing valuable links.

  6. Long-term clients at HighCalibre.Link receive significant bonuses: We never charge for syndication and reposts, providing our long-term clients with 400+ free backlinks as an added benefit.

  7. Continuous link-building is essential for sustained success: Our client's unwavering commitment to link-building ensured that their traffic consistently recovered and grew, even in the face of occasional declines.

By incorporating these valuable insights and strategies, you too can achieve remarkable results and elevate your online presence to new heights.
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